More than 600 unidentified bodies in UK – how many were recovered in your area


It has now been more than 50 years since the decomposed remains of a man were found in a derelict house in Greater London – and police are still no closer to finding its identity.

The body – found in East Smithfield on October 23, 1966 and believed to be that of a male aged around 41 and 5’6 tall – is just one of hundreds of case details published by the UK Missing Person’s Unit.

Another was found earlier this year on March 20 on the Bank of River Dutch at Goole, Humberside.

The man, found wearing a black hoodie, is believed to have been dead three to eight weeks and was aged between 30 and 50.

Others are found with personal items, but still baffle investigators.

Decomposed remains found on moorland in Halse Lane near the village of Winsford, Somerset, had with them underwear and a distinctive gold pendant featuring a verse from the Quran.

The man was wrapped in black bin liners and bedding, with the results of radiocarbon dating and other forensics suggesting he died in late 1999 to June 2000.

Police were even able to mock up what he may have looked like but the case still remains unresolved.

But many are far more obscure, including the discovery of a trainer with a sock and bones inside it found on a footpath opposite the River Severn at Odda’s Chapel in Gloucestershire on March 21, 2009.

Whenever a body is found by police which cannot be identified, the details are published by the unit within 48 hours – providing the investigating force agrees information should be shared publicly.

Every effort is made to extract DNA which is kept on record until a match is found.

However, in older cases bodies may have been buried making it likely they will never be identified.

As of March 31, 2020 – the latest data available – police forces across the whole of the UK held a total of 643 bodies and a further 149 partial remains of bodies.

That was an increase of 10 bodies and eight partial remains from the previous year.

In addition, the UK Missing Persons Unit held details of 56 living people whose identity could not be traced.

A Twitter feed linked to the unit announces details of missing persons, as well as posting on their birthdays.

Yesterday it was Huynh Nguyen’s 20th birthday.

He was 16 when he went missing from Bedford, Bedfordshire, on April 25, 2018.